Obama’s Landslide Deeper Than Reagan’s, But Not As Broad

Barack Obama’s landslide victory, winning 30 states and 53% of the vote, is not as broad as Ronald Reagan’s victories in 1980 and 1984, but it is deeper, in that the Democratic Party will control both branches of Congress by relatively wide margins, whereas Reagan had to deal with a Democratic Congress for much of his time in office.

Obama’s victory is more akin to Lyndon Johnson’s landslide in 1964, when he brought a slew of Democrats to Congress with him, giving him the mandate to push through a large package of progressive legislation, including Medicare and Medicaid, the health care programs for the elderly and the indigent, and immigration reform.

Johnson won 61% of the popular vote and all but six states — Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina and his home state of Arizona — against Barry Goldwater (Source).

In 1980, Ronald Reagan carried 44 states with 489 electoral votes, compared to 49 for President Jimmy Carter, who won six states and the District of Columbia. But he only received 50.7% of the popular vote, while Carter took 41%, and Independent John B. Anderson (a liberal Republican) received 6.7% (Source).

In 1984, Reagan  was re-elected, winning 49 states. Opponent Walter Mondale only won his home state of Minnesota and the District of Columbia. He received 58.8% of the popular vote to Mondale’s 40.6% (Source). However, for his entire term Reagan had to work with a Democratic House of Representatives, and the Republicans only controlled the Senate by a narrow margin for part of Reagan’s terms.


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